Dec 13, 2016
The Berlin Capital Program 2016 invited 13 young American journalists to gain a deeper understanding of the political, economic and cultural environment in Germany/Europe with a special focus on the German media landscape and the role of media in politics and society. From November 13 to 20, the participants visited a variety of media outlets such as Der Tagesspiegel, Der Spiegel / Spiegel Online, Deutsche Welle and Reuters News to discuss with journalists current trends in German media and compare it to developments in the U.S. media landscape.
Visits to the European Commission, German Bundestag and the Stasi Archives provided historical knowledge and proved how history shaped the set-up of German institutions and thus its impact on society, but also gave the opportunity to discuss the political and societal challenges Germany and Europe are facing today. During presentations and talks with researchers from the Humboldt University and volunteers of Kreuzberg hilft, the U.S. journalists were able to gain important (new) insights on migration and immigration in Germany, a topic that motivated many of this year’s participants to apply for the program in spring 2016.
Given the timing of this year, the results of the U.S. presidential election earlier in November and its meaning for transatlantic relations was the topic that was discussed intensively during meetings at the German Federal Foreign Office, with Members of Parliament dealing with foreign affairs and researchers in policy advice. After the intense program, the young American journalists left Germany with a variety of contacts for their future professional reporting and writing and with a strong sense for the importance of sound and stable transatlantic relations.
The Berlin Capital Program is organized by the German-American Fulbright Commission on behalf of the Federal German Foreign Office.
Following are some comments which are representative of the positive reports we received:
“The opportunity to learn about politics and economics in Europe from the capital of its strongest global player was truly valuable. The perspective I gained during the Berlin Capital Program will greatly inform my future work. I would recommend this program to any young journalist looking to enhance their global perspective.”
“This program was a fundamentally unique look at how media exists within the context of culture and politics beyond the U.S. The lesson plans' diversity and rigor challenged and inspired me to consider the dynamics of international relations, reporting and how news and information are consumed by the general public. The emphasis on the present and future were critical and, of course relevant, but the moments in which Germany's past was expounded upon served as an important way to frame our understandings of current and potential issues.”
“This program expanded my idea of what transcontinental relationships can achieve and the importance of maintaining close German-U.S. ties. I learned about the long history of these ties, and the ways transcontinental relationships have created stronger research institutions, political alliances, educational collaborations, and better journalistic work in the past, as well as their future potential. Thanks to the program I felt a renewed commitment to contributing to transcontinental dialogue and creating stories that include German and U.S. perspectives on topics I cover (…).”